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  • Writer's pictureHarold

Talisker Duo

We've been in the thick of Diageo "Special Release" season for over a month now with much of the initial excitement already beginning to fade. That's usually timed perfectly by the time they arrive in the states (fine by me). Much of the anticipation was surrounding the inaugural release from Diageo's infamous "Death Star" distillery, officially known as Roseisle...but a healthy dose of interest was also applied to Talisker's "three port" matured bottling. Devoid of an age statement...though, if I was guessing, I think I was able to find a pretty appropriately aged sample, for comparison purposes.

Talisker (Hunter Laing)  2009/6 Year |The Old Malt Cask| Sherry Hogshead #HL 12934 - 50%  *US Exclusive*
Bottle Image Credit: Whiskybase

Talisker (Hunter Laing)

2009/6 Year |The Old Malt Cask| Sherry Hogshead HL 12934 - 50%

*US Exclusive*

Bottled just shy of its 7th birthday...making it presumably the youngest Talisker I've had to date, unless their core NAS offerings dip below that. Let's just say youngest single cask then. The "Old Malt Cask" series has had a long and successful history of bottling some wonderful casks (at excellent value), here in the states, under Douglas Laing's time, and has certainly held up through Hunter Laing's ownership, although its distribution seems a bit wonky outside of California.

Appearance: Amber gold

First Whiff: Double shot of Don Julio 1942 Extra Bad Decision Juice.

Nose: Unsurprisingly, the not-so-subtle earthy vegetation side of this punchy, peppery peater shines through at first but settles down shortly. There's a nice balance between young, malty feints...sweaty gym bag, spent lees...and sugary a bite of lime after that tequila shot, mentioned above.

Palate: Juicy and bright. Lemon juice...fresh squeezed lemonade. Creamy and citrus driven with a pleasant (fresh cut) pine wood smokiness. Some yeasty Marmite notes settle into a warm coating of peppermint.

Finish: Short and sweet. A bit tart at first...tart citrus candy, which settles down into lime custard...almost like a key-lime pie. Finishes slightly peppery and minty...if only there was a shorter way of saying that...

Summary: Very similar to Wee Beastie here, easy sipping with a little more roundness though. The fact that this goes down so smooth makes it a little unexciting but really, that's what you get with a really well-made, young spirit, paired with a proper cask, and bottled just before they had some time do some truly magical things together.


Talisker "The Wild Explorador " |Diageo Special Releases 2023| White, Tawny and Ruby Port Finish – 59.7%

Talisker "The Wild Explorador"

|Diageo Special Releases 2023| White, Tawny and Ruby Port Finish – 59.7%

Even with the success of Wee Beastie in recent years, most distilleries are still pretty hesitant to bottle anything with an official age statement in single digits. Talisker being one of the few exceptions though, with a couple of 8 year "Special Releases" in 2018 and 2021 which showed off some of its feisty, youthful spirit...quite beautifully. Which bears the question...why not throw an age on this one?

Also...since when did white port become a thing in whisky?? First Glen Scotia and Laphroaig release their special editions, earlier this year...and now Talisker has taken their turn with this lesser known (to whisky nerds) fortified wine from the Douro valley. Was there a good deal on white port casks in the market a few years ago, that none of us heard about?

Appearance: Burnished, deep brown

First Whiff: Warm pot ale and Walkers shortbread.

Nose: If it wasn't for that slight buttery note, this would be all low wines, spent lees and cheesy funk. Young whisky obviously, which shares a very similar profile to the 6 year OMC. Some subtle caramel too but clearly spirit driven so far...wondering when the port will show up.

Palate: Creamy, tart, and front loaded with juicy citrus. With water: Ahh some sour candies...Cherry Sours! Must be that ruby port. More farmy funk, hay bales, chicken coops now. Crisp, thin honey and chamomile tea.

Finish: Pungent, yeasty and warming citrus notes dissipate shortly welcoming super subtle tawny port notes like raisins, and cocoa dusted cedarwood.

Summary: First off...water! This is borderline new make at cask strength. Now, Diageo doesn't color their limited editions so the casks must've done something here, but it wasn't as significant to warrant anything "special," in my opinion. It may just be me, but I'm a sucker for a port maturation to lean heavier on the wood side, than the spirit.



Talisker Duo


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